Rocco Thomas Aceto ran in the streets of Kennedy Park while his immigrant family was paving the cobblestone roads of the Old Port. He grew up playing street ball in the back of Aceto’s Construction Company site where a make shift basketball hoop was erected. There, he learned to perfect his basketball skills while playing with Sabato DiPhillipo, Mario DiPietro, Greg St. Angelo, and Brother Ward. With these skills he honed his game and became basketball captain at Portland High School. He also received Varsity letters in baseball and football.
Rocco attended the University of Maine Orono for one year until he enlisted in the Korean War. While in Korea, he wrote love letters to his girlfriend back home, Patricia Clancy, who awaited his safe return. Shortly after his return, he married Patricia and started his family of five children: Annmarie, Theresa, Rocco, Christopher, and Francine. One of his goals, with his wife leading the way, was to educate his children who graduated from Boston College, University of New Hampshire, North Carolina State, Springfield College, and Endicott College. His five children produced twelve grandchildren who were the absolute joy of his life!
He joined his father and extended family at Aceto’s Construction Company to manage Old Orchard Beach Amusement Park, the Pier, and all surrounding properties. His children delighted in visiting him at work and eating pizza, pier fries, and fried rice. The amusement park was their playground and their mother loved soaking up the sun at the beach. After 28 years, he bought a neighborhood grocery store, which he named “Aceto’s Finest Italians”. The entire family learned hands on how to make traditional Italian fare including our “famous finest Italian sandwiches”. After 15 years as a storeowner, he decided to retire and enjoy his grandchildren.
One of his greatest joys was playing on the floor with any one of his twelve grandchildren. He sang songs in Italian and entertained them for hours. He was most peaceful and joyous when he could be with his grandchildren.
Rocco traveled to Italy to visit his roots. He loved
everything Italian including sausages, music, the Abruzzi dialect, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and especially The Godfather movies.
Rocco’s family would like to thank St. Joseph’s Rehabilitation Center for the compassion and care of Rocco throughout his struggle with Alzheimer’s.
Visiting hours will be held on Monday, April 8, from 4:00-7:00pm at A.T. Hutchins Funeral Home, 660 Brighton Avenue, Portland. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, 72 Federal Street, Portland on Tuesday, April 9, 2019 at 10A.M. Expressions of Sympathy may be made in the form of donations to Alzheimer’s Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave. Floor 17, Chicago, Illinois 60601.